According to end of year statistics from the government WasteDataFlow service, the council only managed to recycle 13.68% of the refuse it collected. Only marginally better was North Warwickshire Borough Council in Midlands, and Southampton City Council in Hampshire.
Refuse and recycling company BusinessWaste.co.uk has expressed its dismay at these poor recycling rates, especially when compared to Surrey Heath Borough Council, England’s leading council for recycling, which manages to recycle three times as much.
“There are many factors at play when we look at these low rates,” said BusinessWaste.co.uk ‘s Mark Hall, “but excuses begin to wear thin when targets are missed year after year.”
“The public demand and deserve more responsible councils, yet in most cases they’re consistently failing to deliver.”
The bottom performers in England in 2012, according to WasteDataFlow, were (by percentage of refuse recycled): Ashford Borough Council (13.68%), North Warwickshire Borough Council (13.86%), Southampton City Council (13.91%), Forest of Dean District Council (14.25%), St Helens MBC (14.28%), Council of the Isles of Scilly (14.63%), Middlesbrough Borough Council (14.83%), East Cambridgeshire District Council (15.22%), North East Lincolnshire Council (15.64%), and Tonbridge and Malling Borough Counci (15.82%)
BusinessWaste.co.uk concedes that some councils may have issues that prevent higher rates, for example the relative isolation of the Isles of Scilly. “In some cases we’re convinced that councils have slashed back their waste collection budgets, and recycling rates have plummeted as a result,” said Mark.
“Some councils have simply taken their eye off the ball in recent years, and have just let things slide.” In its defence, Ashford council says it launched an improved recycling service in July, and aims to become one of the country’s top performing areas within two years.
The top performers included: Surrey Heath Borough Council (39.22%), Vale of White Horse District Council (37.27%), South Oxfordshire District Council (36.95%), and City of London (34.38%). BusinessWaste.co.uk notes that while the top three are in relatively well-off areas, some of the best performing councils are in traditionally industrial regions such as Darlington and Blackburn.